Nothing Else Matters

by Saber ShadowKitten
Series: The Game, part 4

Part One

"Mom?" Buffy called loudly as she and Spike entered the kitchen through the back door. She closed the door behind them, but motioned not to move from it. "Mom?"

"Doesn't look like she's here, pet," Spike said.

"Looks that way," she replied, toeing off her shoes, then taking off the duster and laying it on the counter.

Spike bent to take off his own shoes. When he looked up at her, she was halfway out of her pants, her no-longer-white baby tee already gone. "Much as I'm enjoying this, you do realize you're naked in the kitchen?"

"And you will be just as naked in about thirty seconds," Buffy said. "So finish stripping so I can throw this stuff in the wash and we have enough time to clean up before the troops arrive."

He took off the bomber jacket and let it fall to the floor, then pulled the T-shirt over his head. The wounds from the metallic spider's legs were bright red, with streaks coursing in all directions from the poison.

"Those look nasty," she commented.

"They bloody itch, too," Spike told her as he undid his jeans and let them fall to the floor.

Buffy bent and picked up the clothes. "Go ahead on up and start the shower, I'm going to throw these in the wash." She looked at the bomber jacket sadly. "Your ‘new' coat will have to be taken to the cleaners."

"Fine by me, luv," he shrugged as he walked across the kitchen towards the stairs.

Buffy watched his retreating bare backside and grinned. She hurried to the basement and threw their clothes into the wash, then practically sprinted to the second floor, stopping only long enough to use the powder room. She retrieved two, large towels from the linen closet, then knocked on the bathroom door. "Candygram."

Spike opened the door and yanked her inside the already steam filled room. "Candygram, huh? Let's see how sweet you are," he said, capturing her mouth in a passionate kiss.

Buffy dropped the towels and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her naked body against his. He groaned into her mouth when her soft skin and nest of curls rubbed against his already hard shaft.

He broke the kiss only to pick her up and deposit her in the shower. He barely had time to get his footing as he stepped in behind her before he found himself pressed against the wall, a very aroused Slayer running her hands along his erection.

"I want you," Buffy whispered, her eyes heavy with desire. "Now."

Spike grabbed her, changed their positions and thrust into her hot, wet core all in one fluid motion. Buffy keened in his ear with pleasure before her mouth was occupied once again by his talented lips and tongue. Soon, they were both flying over the edge, her muscles clamping around his cock as he spilled his seed in her.

Spike let her slowly down after they calmed, his eyes closed. When he opened them he saw Buffy leaning her head against the wall, her eyes still closed, a small smile on her lips. He leaned forward and gently kissed her, then reached out to grab the shampoo.

"I guess we better get clean," Buffy mumbled, opening her eyes.

"That's usually why people take a shower," Spike replied with a wink.

She giggled as he got his hair wet, then changed places with him. She felt his hands in her hair, rubbing shampoo over the dingy locks. She leaned slightly towards him, enjoying the attention.

"Rinse," he instructed gruffly. The pleasurable look on her face from this simple task affected his undead heart, making it swell with emotion.

Buffy rinsed the soap out of her hair, then smiled brightly at him. "My turn," she said, picking up the shampoo.

Spike didn't think he'd ever felt anything as soothing as her fingers as she massaged his scalp. He let his eyes fall shut and sighed in contentment. Suddenly, he felt her soapy hands start down his body, washing away the dried blood. This time, he moaned and he became aroused again as her gentle fingers played over his skin. "Luv, you're going to kill me," he murmured as he felt her grab the soap, then continue her ministrations.

Buffy giggled. "I'll have to keep this in mind the next time I patrol. Death by soap."

Spike's eyes shot open and he gave her a dangerous, possessive look. "Don't even bloody think about touching anyone else like this, Slayer," he warned.

"Like this?" she asked innocently as her soapy hands slid down between his legs to caress him, her fingers rubbing against the sensitive area under the heavy sac.

He hissed in pleasure, putting his hand out to brace himself against the wall. "Fuck," he gasped out as she moved hand over hand around his cock to make it feel as though he were continually entering her.

"Not yet," Buffy replied in a throaty voice. She watched as his eyes rolled up in excitement before the lids fluttered shut. She suddenly changed directions, pulling hand over hand and he growled loudly. His face shifted as he came, shooting his cold semen onto her stomach.

Spike's gold eyes slowly opened to see a purely feminine smile on Buffy's face. He grabbed the back of her head, yanking her to him to plunder her mouth with his teeth and tongue.

Buffy groaned into his mouth, rubbing her tongue against his fangs, drawing blood. She heard him growl again in pleasure from her actions, causing her vagina to clench in excitement.

She almost cried out in disappointment when he stepped away until she felt his tongue flick her throbbing clit. This time, it was she who hissed in pleasure as he began to suck and tease her. "Please, Spike," Buffy begged as she approached the edge. He suddenly bit down on her sensitive nub, and she screamed as she climaxed, her whole body shaking with the impact.

Spike held her tightly to him as she bucked against his face, drawing her orgasm out. Finally, he gave her one last lick, then stood and pulled her against him in a lover's embrace. "Sweeter than a candygram," he whispered in her hair. He felt her start to laugh and chuckled. "What say we finish cleaning up before your friends arrive."

"That would probably be a good idea," Buffy replied, smiling up at him. "Plus, I would really like to try making love to you on a bed sometime."

"I think I can arrange that," he said, grabbing the soap she dropped and running it over her body.

She moaned as he ran the bar over her breasts. "Keep that up, and we'll never get out of the shower."

Part Two

Eventually, the couple made it to the bedroom only to tumble into bed and fulfilling Buffy's wish. They barely had gotten dressed, Spike wearing an old pair of her father's sweats and T- shirt she'd dug out of her ‘comfy clothes' drawer, when the doorbell rang.

"Will you get the door?" Buffy asked. "I'm going to call over to the gallery and see if my mom is there."

"Sure, pet," Spike replied, exiting the bedroom. He bounced down the stairs, full of energy from the satisfying hour he'd just spent with his love, and opened the front door to see Willow, Xander, Giles. He stepped back and gestured for them to enter.

"Where's Buffy?" Xander asked hostilely, glaring at Spike.

"She's hanging in the basement by her intestines," the blond vampire replied. He snickered at the expression on the Slayer's friends faces and sauntered past them to the kitchen. He heard them talking heatedly in the other room as he poured Buffy something to drink, then grabbed some napkins before returning to the living room. When they immediately fell silent, he rolled his eyes, then plopped down on the same chair he sat in when he'd conspired with the Slayer against Angelus. *Was that only less than a year ago?* he thought to himself.


"Ok, mom. Love you, too," Buffy said, hanging up the phone. She heard a tapping at her window and looked up to see Angel. "Hi, how long have you been here?" She asked, allowing him to enter.

"Long enough," Angel replied sadly.

"Oh," she said, blushing.


"Why what? Why Spike?" Buffy said. He nodded. "I don't know. Because he's like me. Because he understands. Because he's sweet. Because a lot of things."

"He doesn't have a soul, Buffy," Angel pointed out.

"At least he won't be able to lose it, then," she replied, then covered her mouth in horror. "Oh, god, Angel. I'm sorry."

"It's ok," he said. "I just....I don't think it's wise to get involved with him. He's a killer. He likes to kill."

"So do I," Buffy admitted quietly. "He promised not to, though. And I believe him. He's kept his word before."

"When? Didn't you tell me he was suppose to leave Sunnydale and never come back?" Angel argued.

"Angel, he came back because he was upset at Drusilla and was drunk and for another reason that I'm not going to tell you about," she said. "He's not going to hurt me."

"I'm sorry if I don't believe that," Angel stated.

"You know, I don't care. You have no idea how different he's become ever since you lost your soul then regained it. He's changed, for the better I might add, and I love him," Buffy snapped.

Angel looked at her with pain filled eyes. "You love him?"

Buffy nodded slowly, knowing that by admitting it to Angel she was at a point of no return. "I'm sorry, Angel."

"I hope you know what you're doing, Buffy," Angel said softly. "I worry about you."

"I know," she replied.

Angel turned to the window and sat straddling the sill. "Would you come by the mansion tomorrow and tell me what happened? I don't...the others..."

Buffy smiled softly. "Yeah. I'll be there tomorrow after school."

Angel nodded once, gave her a small, half smile and left.


After composing herself, Buffy came bouncing down the stairs in shorts and a T-shirt. "Pizza!" she exclaimed, snatching the box out of Xander's hands. She set it on the coffee table, noting the drink and napkins. She gave Spike an affectionate pat on the head, then sat on his lap. "Have a seat, guys. Mom will be home in a few, then I'll tell you what happened."

Spike put his hands up under the back of her shirt and began to lightly tickle her sides. She turned her head to give him a look, to which he sent her a cocky grin and began bouncing his legs, earning him a swat. The other occupants of the room looked on in wide-eyed wonder.

"Ok, enough with the quiet," Buffy said, scowling at everyone. "Tell me that you guys went research happy and found the dudes who gave us a repeat performance."

"The group is called Fehu," Willow replied, moving to the edge of her seat. "It's kind of a high stakes, betting game that millionaires play. But instead of betting on horses, they bet on various people, humans or otherwise, in certain environments. The first game you two played was called ‘The Jungle' and there was a whole article on it on the net."

"A very detailed article," Xander added, glaring at the couple. "Some people even got to see it."

"What?!" Buffy said, her eyes widening.

"They had satellite feed from the island,"Willow explained. "Those with advanced computers were able to watch."

"Everything?" she asked with dread.

"Everything in plain view," Willow replied.

Buffy started to blush and Spike would have if he could. Suddenly in dire need of something to do with his hands, the vampire took a small amount of Buffy's hair and began braiding it.

"Well," Buffy said, clearing her throat, then taking a sip of her drink. "Um, yeah."

"Yeah," Willow said, nodding her head.

"So, uh, now that my love life is out on the table," Buffy began, staring intently at the pizza in her hands. "Let me just say it's not up for discussion and move onto more important things, like what to do about this Fehu group."

"I don't think your screwing the undead is something to ignore," Xander said. "Especially after what happened last time you got pelvic."

Spike began to growl low in his chest, his eyes flashing gold at the teen. Buffy put her hand on his knee, squeezing slightly and he stopped. "Xander, kitchen, now," she ground out as she stood, then stomped away.

Xander glared at Spike and followed her. Irritated, the blond vampire set his face in a stoic, cold mask and stood, following the boy. He growled again as he passed the teen, then yanked open the basement door and went downstairs to calm down and change the laundry.

Buffy found him pacing like a caged tiger several minutes later. "I'm going to rip his bloody head off and use it as a football," he snarled at her, his blue eyes like chips of ice.

"Spike," Buffy said, stepping in his path. She wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his muscular chest.

He immediately felt a calm steal over his hyper, anger-filled body as he hugged her back. He closed his eyes and inhaled her unique scent of femininity and power. "Sorry, pet."

"‘S-ok," she murmured. "I wanted to hurt him, too. But you have to admit his feelings are grounded in reality. The last vampire I loved turned around and tried to kill everyone."

"Yeah, well, I'm not most vampires," Spike said. "I do have some control over my actions."

"Mr. Antsy-Pants?" Buffy teased, looking up at him. "Who couldn't wait for two lousy days to attack me when you'd have been at full power on St. Vigeous?"

"Hey, I almost bloody had you until your mum hit me with that axe," he said. "Slayers aren't suppose to have family and friends. It's not in the handbook."

"I swear, at least I could have gotten the Cliff Notes version," she complained with an exasperated sigh.

"Buffy? Your mother has arrived," they heard Giles call down the stairs.

"Ok," Buffy called out. She stood on her tip toes and kissed Spike softly on the mouth. "Come on, lover-boy. Let's do this."

"Do we gotta?" Spike whined, sticking his lower lip out dramatically in a pout.

"Yes, we gotta," she replied, taking his hand and dragging him towards the stairs. "My pizza is getting cold and I'm still hungry."

He gave her a big sigh and trudged up the stairs behind her, making her laugh. However, when they cleared the door, his face was set in a hard, unforgiving mask as they returned to the living room. Buffy led him to the chair they were sitting in before, then sat on the floor in front of his legs. He picked up where he left off in braiding her hair.

"Hi, mom," the Slayer greeted, taking a bite of pizza.

"Buffy, what is all this about?" Joyce asked her daughter, sitting on the couch close to the chair. "You've been gone for days, kidnaped by some gaming group, and today I received a video in the mail with you and Spike in the Jungle. I take it that was where you were last time."

"You mean, we can watch the movie of ‘Boinking in the Jungle'?" Xander sneered.

Spike tensed, but did not raise his head from watching his hands as he braided Buffy's hair. If he did, he was sure to grab the boy by the neck and squeeze until his head popped like a zit.

"Xander, one more comment like that and I'll pull your tongue out and make you eat it," Buffy said calmly, her eyes staring her friend down. Xander paled and shut up immediately as Spike chuckled quietly. "Mom, it seems that this Finger group..."

"Fehu," Willow corrected.

"Fehu group has a big ole yen for Spike and me," Buffy continued.

"And I am afraid it is likely you shall be-be taken again," Giles added.

"WHAT?!" Buffy, Xander and Joyce exclaimed at the same time.

"It seems that with each successful game, the participants, as it were, move on to-to-to a harder one," Giles said.

"For how long?" Buffy asked.

"Until you fail," Willow answered. "Or until they run out of games. I did a little more digging and found that only one other person survived the second game to move onto the third."

"Let me guess, he bought the farm in the third one," Buffy said glumly.

"Him and the others who were with him," Willow said. "I guess the third game is played with a team of four. It didn't say how the other three were picked, though."

"This is bloody great," Spike spoke up, scowling at the hair in his hands as he braided. The combination of great sex, being free from the caverns, and agitation exploding in a stream of fast dialogue. "First we get stuck in the middle of the bleedin' jungle, then wander underground for who knows how long, getting attacked by metal spiders, giant squids and bird-like creatures, which I did have a gay old time tearing apart. Cor, I hadn't been that hungry in a long time, not since Dru and I got stuck in the cargo hold of this bloody ship on our way here to America and I had to make sure she got to feed because she was weak from that bloody mob in Prague. You would like Prague, Slayer. Some of it's pretty nice, although I don't think they call it Czechoslovakia anymore." He frowned, taking fresh strands. "I think perhaps the Czech Republic and Slovakia are two separate countries now. That whole fall of Communism and what not. I bet those people are wishing it never ended, with their bad economies..."

Buffy was smiling as she listened to him, while the others where staring at him with fascination. Except for her mother, this was the first time anyone in the room heard him speak more than a few threatening words. He was really on a roll, too, and no one had the guts to interrupt him, except for the Slayer, and she didn't care. She was happy munching her pizza while he braided her hair.

Part Three

Buffy eventually interrupted Spike, who was still braiding her hair. She now had about thirty little strands that hung around her head. "So, what are we going to do about these guys? I mean, there's got to be a way to contact them and tell them to piss off."

"Buffy, language," Joyce scolded.

"Sorry," she grinned sheepishly at her mom.

"I'm trying to track them down, Buffy," Willow said. "But so far, nothing. Bets are placed through on-line deposits to foreign accounts, which are unnamed. But, I'll keep working on it."

"Thanks, Will," Buffy said.

"So, how do we keep them from snagging Buffy?" Xander asked. "They can take Junior over there, for all I care."

Spike frowned. *Junior? What the bloody hell does that mean?* he thought.

"I would suggest that Buffy not patrol alone," Giles said.

"But that didn't help last time," Willow said, a frown marring her face. "They had guns. They had darts. They looked trained. And they had guns."

"I don't want people getting shot because of me," Buffy said, adding her own frown.

"I think it was because they caught you by, uh, surprise, last time, that you were rendered easily obtainable," Giles stated.

"I definitely wasn't paying attention to my surroundings at the time," Buffy admitted with a wry grin to Willow. The hacker giggled.

"I don't like this, Buffy," Joyce said. "It's bad enough that you have your Slayer duties to deal with, as well as school. I had a hard time convincing your principal you were sick these last two times."

"Well, maybe they'll be kind enough to wait until after I graduate in June," Buffy said. "Until then, I guess I'll take Spike here with me. Angel, too."

"Do what?" Giles and Spike asked at the same time.

Buffy looked up at the blond vampire and batted her eyes. "You'll come with me, won't you?"

"I bloody will not," Spike scowled.

"You don't have to help me," Buffy said. "Just be an extra set of eyes." She licked her lips slowly and gave him a seductive look. "Please? For me?"

Spike thumped his head on the back of the chair and looked up at the ceiling. "Out of all the women in this world, I had to fall for the Slayer," he muttered. "Bloody hell, I'll go with you."


"But I'm not going traitor like your lap dog," he declared.

"Whatever you say, sweety," Buffy said, patting his knee. She yawned suddenly and shook her head. "Ungh. I'm tired all of a sudden. Is there anything else you guys want to know?"

"You never did get around to telling us what happened, Buffy," Joyce said.

"I'm guessing if you got a video of the first one, you'll get a video of the second," the Slayer said. "Although how they would tape in the dark is beyond me."

"They wouldn't have had to," Spike said. "We had torches and they could have been light sensitive."

"Joy," she sighed. "I'm going to give you the short, short version, then go to bed. Woke up, made light, read stupid letter, walked, fought big metallic spiders, got bloody, walked some more, swam, almost drowned because of big tentacle creature, walked, played Indiana Jones, got attacked by flying things, Spike got really bloody, walked again, found a hole that led into the boiler room of the hospital, tripped over Kindestod, saw you guys, came home, cleaned up, ate pizza and now I'm going to bed."

Spike couldn't help but laugh, surprising everyone. The talking thing had amazed them, but the totally carefree and happy sound that emitted from him floored them. Buffy stood and kissed him on the cheek. "Would you stay and give more detail?"

"Anything for you, pet," he replied quietly, blue eyes meeting hazel. "Love you."

Buffy's lips curved into a shy smile. "Love you, too," she said equally quiet, so only he could hear. "I'll see you upstairs." She stood and turned to her mom. "Mom, can I talk to you in the kitchen in the second. Giles, Spike will answer any more questions. Xand, Willow, I'll see you in school tomorrow."

"‘Night, Buffy," Willow said.

"‘Night, Buffster," Xander echoed.

Joyce followed Buffy to the kitchen as Giles began to question Spike. "Mom, I take it you know about Spike and me from the tape."

"Yes," Joyce replied. "Honey, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life, but don't you think you're a little young. Especially after what happened with Angel?"

"I was scared at first, mom, but Spike not Angel," she said. She shook her head. "I don't know how to explain it. It's like ever since I met him, I knew that this was going to happen and life was just waiting for the right time to bring us together. Does that make sense?"

Joyce looked thoughtfully at her daughter. "When did that idea come to you?"

"Last night, or the day before, or whenever it was when Spike fought those winged creatures. I love him, mom. It's as simple and as complicated as that."

Joyce wrapped her arms around her daughter and hugged her tight. "Love always is, honey."

Buffy smiled as she stepped away, then yawned again. "I'm going to bed now. Um...Spike's gonna sleep on my floor, ok?"

"He is, is he?" Joyce asked.

"Well, he kinda has no where to go, and with the sun and all and I have those dark shades now..."

"On the floor," Joyce sighed. "My mother was never this lenient with me."

"Her daughter wasn't the Slayer who saves the world on alternate Tuesdays, either," Buffy teased. "‘Night, mom."

"‘Night, honey," she replied.


"I'll see if I can draw those pictures, Watcher," Spike said as Joyce returned to the living room. "Though I'm not the drawer in the ‘family.' That'd be Angelus." Giles paled and Willow squeaked in alarm. The blond vampire frowned at them. "What?"

"We, uh, know quite well his talent," Giles replied, removing his glasses to rub his eyes.

"That bloody wanker played that game, didn't he," he said. "I never got why he just didn't kill people without the all the hoopla."

"Er...yes," Giles said. "I-I-I think it's best we go now. Thank you, uh, Spike."

Spike shrugged. "The Slayer asked me to."

Giles gave him a puzzled frown, then motioned to Willow and Xander. "Come along. I'll drive you home."

"What about blood breath?" Xander asked as he stood.

"I'm sure he can find his own, home," Giles said. "Good night, Joyce."

"Good night, Rupert," Joyce said, repeating the statement to Willow and Xander. She closed the door behind them, then turned to Spike. "My daughter informs me that you're sleeping on her floor."

Spike arched an eyebrow. "Oh, she did, did she?"

"Yes, she did," Joyce smiled. "But I want your word - best behavior."

"You'd take my word?" he asked incredulously. Only Buffy ever did that.

"Buffy trusts you, so I guess I will, too," she replied. "Of course, I can always get the axe."

Spike chuckled. "I'll behave," he said. "Promise."

Joyce nodded. "Well, goodnight then."

"Good night," he answered and watched her go upstairs. He sat in the living room for about half- an-hour, thinking about all that occurred since he returned to Sunnydale. He never planned on falling in love with anyone after Drusilla, then to go and fall for the Slayer. He groaned mentally, then smiled when he pictured her in his coat, her eyes flashing at him in anger or desire. He still couldn't believe what she told him after he went ...well, berserk is a good word for it. No one ever said they would die for him. Because of him, maybe.

She seemed to know everything about him, accepted him, demon and all. Plus, he felt so comfortable around her. She was so easy to talk to, and he hadn't had someone who just listened to him since...since his grandmum when he was still human. It made him think of a song he'd once heard - never opened myself this way; life is ours, we live it our way; all these words I don't just say; trust I seek and I find you; every day for us something new; open mind for a different view; and nothing else matters.

He wanted to be with her, to watch her, to hold her hand, to see her fight, to make love to her. He told her love was blood, and it was her his was screaming for, screaming to touch, to hold, to never let go. Spike loved her with his entire being.

And nothing else mattered.

Part Four

The second video came the next day. Spike behaved himself, as promised, and slept on the floor even though he ached to hold Buffy in his arms. She was sleeping so soundly, anyway, and he loathed to wake her. When he woke up, the sun had just set and he found a paper bag with a container of blood in it at his side and his cleaned clothes lying in a neat pile on the bed.

He quickly changed, then went downstairs in search of the new love of his undead life. He found her with Willow in the living room watching tv. At least, he thought it was tv until he recognized the images on the screen.

"Hi, Spike," Buffy greeted quietly from the couch. She shifted and patted the seat next to her. "We were just watching Game One, as the tape was titled. This is not something my mother should have seen."

Spike sat next to her and pulled her against him. They were at the point where Buffy had reached the top of the cliff and he was screaming at her. There was actually sound on the tape and he felt the Slayer flinch when he yelled those awful words to her. He squeezed her shoulder and kissed the top of her head. "Hey, I love you," he whispered. She responded by snuggling further into him.

Just as the tape ended, the doorbell rang, startling them. Buffy sighed and pushed herself off the couch. She came back less than a minute later with a FedEx package in her hands. She carefully pulled the tab and peered inside. "Oh, looky. Tape two,"she said sarcastically as she pulled it out.

Willow jumped up and grabbed the white, cardboard envelope. "This is great! I can use the tracking number to find what city this was sent from!"

"I'm excited for you, Will," Buffy replied. She popped the first tape out of the VCR. "So, what did you think of our little X-rated adventure?"

"Um," Willow blushed. "I think that was a little too private for me to see."

"Oh, come on, Willow. Hundreds of others who bet on the game probably saw it, why not my best friend, too?" Buffy said. The doorbell rang again and she sighed dramatically, going to answer it. "Xander and Giles, together, on my doorstep. My life is just so complete now."

"Hey, Buffster," Xander greeted, stepping past her. "G-man and I came to patrol with you tonight."

"It's way early, guys," Buffy commented as she closed the door behind her Watcher.

"Yes, I know," Giles said. "I had hoped to ah, speak more about the occurrence."

"Well, why don't you join us in the living room," she said. "We're just about to watch the ‘Spike and Buffy being naughty in a cave' show."

"I-I-I beg your pardon?" Giles stammered.

"Buffy got another tape," Willow supplied. She waved the FedEx package. "And now we can track them!"

"Hey, bleach boy," Xander said to the vampire sitting on the couch. "I thought you'd be out terrorizing the innocent. What gives?"

"Xander, leave him alone," Buffy chided, pushing the tape in the VCR.

"Slayer, are you sure you want them to watch this?" Spike asked as she rejoined him on the couch.

"I don't care anymore. Giles is my Watcher, and he needs to know what goes on in my life, Willow I would share this with anyway, and Xander's annoying, but here," Buffy told him. She glared at the annoying teen in question. "I will, however, be stopping and fast forwarding through certain parts."

"You mean you don't want to let us watch you humping a demon?" Xander said sarcastically.

"Shut up, Xander," Willow said loudly. He immediately looked remorseful and was quiet.

Buffy pushed play on the remote and was rewarded with voices on a dark screen. Suddenly, a lighter flicked on and she was watching herself and Spike on the screen. When he started to kiss her on the tv, she quickly pressed stop, then fast forward for ten minutes, then play again. No one commented.

The screen came back to life as Buffy and Spike began to light the kerosene lanterns. Giles leaned closer to the screen when the spiders attacked, and Willow squealed in disgust, burying her face in her hands. Xander watched with a mixture of fascination and disgust. He laughed when Buffy threw her shoe at the vampire on the video, then shifted uncomfortably when he saw them strip and jump into the water.

Soon, she pressed stop again, fast forwarding a bit before putting the video back on. They five watched as Buffy crossed the rickety bridge, then Spike. Willow gasped when one of the ropes collapsed, involved in the action unfolding on the screen. They saw the vampire touch Buffy's bleeding mouth, then lick the blood and the events that followed.

The carnage was too much for the group. Willow was the first to run for the bathroom, followed quickly by Xander. Giles excused himself and went outside to get some fresh air. Buffy, however, took Spike's hand and held it until the others returned in time to see him crying in her arms on the screen. Xander snickered under his breath, then gasped when he heard the Slayer's words, as did the other two.

The video cut off with Spike and Buffy climbing through the hole at the hospital and she turned the power off. Silence permeated the living room, each of the friends deep in thought about what they just witnessed. The couple snuggled closer together, Spike resting his chin on top of Buffy's head, reliving the memories in their heads.

Giles was first to clear his throat. ", think I know what those spiders were...."


Spike grabbed Buffy's hand as they walked through the cemetery, Xander and Giles trailing behind them, Angel somewhere in front in the shadows. "How are you holding up?" he asked.

"Ok," Buffy replied. "It's not everyday that I share my most intimate moments with everyone. Oh, wait. That does happen. Never mind."

He chuckled. "What did Angelus have to say?"

"He said ‘Spike? That lowlife? What are you, nuts?'" she answered. He chuckled again. "I told him what happened in the cave and that I loved you and nothing else mattered."

Spike stopped walking, bringing her to a halt as well. "You said what?"

"Um...that I loved you?" Buffy replied, puzzled.

"No, after that."

"Nothing else mattered," she said. She gave him an odd look when he started to laugh. "What?"

"I was thinking the same thing last night about you," Spike told her. "‘Never opened myself this way; life is ours, we live it our way; all these words I don't just say; trust I seek and I find you; every day for us something new; open mind for a different view; and nothing else matters.'"

"Wow," Buffy said quietly.

Spike brushed a stray hair off her face. "Yeah, wow."

"And up ahead we have the Slayer and her pet vampire making with the smoochies," Xander said as he and Giles caught up to them. "This is a traveling exhibit, so look while you can."

Buffy rolled her eyes and Spike glared at the boy. "Come on, Spike." She pulled him away with her, quickly putting some distance between them and the other two. She stopped suddenly and jumped on top of a headstone.

"Slayer, what are you doing?" Spike asked, laughing at her.

"I. Am in love. With you," she strung out in short sentences.

"And this makes you act like a circus performer?" he said.

"Girl's gotta have some fun," she joked. "Besides, I bet you're just dying to get up here, too."

"I'm already dead, pet," Spike replied. Then he hopped up on the headstone next to her. "But you aren't wrong."

Buffy's laughter rang out across the cemetery, soon joined by Spike's. Two who are complete opposites, yet are completely the same, in love with each other despite their nature. Giles and Xander stopped and watched the two as they performed their balancing act.

"What is it with Buffy and her love of dead guys?" Xander asked.

"I am sorry to say that I have no clue," Giles replied. "She is a strange girl." Buffy choose that moment to do a handstand on the headstone. "A very strange girl, indeed."

"That she is, G-man," Xander said. "That she definitely is."